An interview with Milwaukee Blues-Rock Duo
by Mike Huberty
May 2018



Featuring the drummer Ron “Hi” Terrell and guitarist/vocalist Maxwell “Jack” Liam, Milwaukee’s HI/JACK is an upbeat Blues-Rock duo in the vein of WHITE STRIPES and BLACK KEYS. It’s not easy to create a big sound with just two people, but HI/JACK makes it happen on their studio records Turn It To Ten and No Cover. Since forming in 2014, Ron and Max have been constantly writing, recording, and performing. With their high-energy stripped down no-frills rock and roll sound they can fit just as well into a smoky blues jam as a punk rock basement party. They’ll be bringing that live show to this year’s Maybash, a music and camping festival in Rio, Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend.

MI: What made you guys want to pick up instruments?
MAX: One word “AC/DC”.
RON: The jazz and funk scene introduced to me by my parents. This is what got me into music in the first place really. And that was when I was originally a guitarist, “pre-drumming Ron”.

MI: Who did you listen to when you guys were growing up?

MI: What’s the single that people should listen to first to introduce themselves to your music?
MAX: “Better Now” It is a STOOGES inspired song, with lyrics surrounding mental health. It captures the overall sound of the band. Very raw, direct, and loud. It is where Ron can let loose on the drums. It really was more of a pivotal song for HI/JACK in the sense that it was a build off of previous HI/JACK experiences.

MI: What does the name HI/JACK mean?
BOTH: HI/JACK is a blend of the dynamic that we create through music and through life. Ron is “Hi”, the highly energetic one, and the one who greets people. Max is the Jack of all trades. Whether it is song writing, performing, mixing and mastering, he is the Jack of all trades. We dress in negatives of each other as well as style to further exemplify the dynamic between the two, and how well the two styles, though very different, make a cohesive powerful song unparalleled by anyone.

MI: You guys are from the Milwaukee area, is there something about the city that makes you love its music scene? Do you think Madison is different?
BOTH: Yes we are. It really is our home. Through our travels, the Milwaukee music scene doesn’t possess something that makes it stand out among other scenes. We still support our friends among the Milwaukee scene, but then again we do that regardless where the band is based out of. We really need to play in Madison more often to really draw an accurate conclusion. We are pretty sure that it’s the same way.

MI: What’s been your favorite show so far? What happened there that made it so memorable?
MAX: The first time we opened for ONE EYED DOLL. Down in Joliet IL, where we were the only band that was able to open for them. It was a pretty big show for us, considering that we were only together for a year. It was the show that gave us hope for our music career.
RON: Chill on The Hill. That one was the first time playing outside to over 2,000 people, and broadcasted live over 91.7 WMSE. One person heard us on the radio, while riding his bike, turned around and went to the concert, just to see us live, because he loved what he heard. That impacted me. It was so cool just seeing all those people out there and playing to them.

MI: You guys are going to be ripping it up in Rio Memorial Day Weekend for Maybash, what can we expect?
BOTH: Straight up hard fast, rock and roll brought to you by two young punks. Boobs being flashed required.

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